How are diabetic retinopathy and macular edema detected?

Diabetic retinopathy and macular edema are detected during a comprehensive eye exam that includes:

Visual acuity test:This eye chart test measures how well you see at various distances. Dilated eye exam: Drops are placed in your eyes to widen, or dilate, the pupils. This allows the eye care professional to see more of the inside of your eyes to check for signs of the disease. Your eye care professional uses a special magnifying lens to examine your retina and optic nerve for signs of damage and other eye problems. After the exam, your close-up vision may remain blurred for several hours. Tonometry: An instrument measures the pressure inside the eye. Numbing drops may be applied to your eye for this test.

Your eye care professional checks your retina for early signs of the disease, including:

Leaking blood vessels Retinal swelling (macular edema) Pale, fatty deposits on the retina-signs of leaking blood vessels Damaged nerve tissue Any changes to the blood vessels

If your eye care professional believes you need treatment for macular edema, he or she may suggest a fluorescein angiogram. In this test, a special dye is injected into your arm. Pictures are taken as the dye passes through the blood vessels in your retina. The test allows your eye care professional to identify any leaking blood vessels and recommend treatment.

This answer is based on source information from National Eye Institute.

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